January 23

The Ultimate Bench Press Workout to Increase Strength and Muscle

By fitness

January 23, 2023

The ever-popular bench press has constructed its popularity over the previous couple of many years as a ceremony of passage, a trial by fireplace, and a founding member of the powerlifting “big three.” This train is all that, and extra. The bench press is so widespread that it even has its personal day of the week — “International bench day” has turn into synonymous with Monday in lots of gyms.

The bench press is a go-to train whenever you’re seeking to enhance the dimensions and energy of your chest, shoulders, and triceps. The stability of the bench and the mounted vary of movement of the barbell permits you to use extra weight. And shifting extra weight means constructing extra dimension and energy.

Credit: YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV / Shutterstock

If you’re on the lookout for a standalone bench-focused exercise to extend energy and muscle in your higher physique, you've come to the proper place. Let’s dive in under.

Best Bench Press Workout For Muscle and Strength

To acquire absolute energy, you could concentrate on shifting heavier weights, working round 85-90% of your one-repetition most. (1) The cluster set method offers you all you may deal with on this regard — performing a number of “mini-sets” of low repetitions with heavy weights to build up vital quantity. This helps set the desk for extra muscle as a result of a stronger muscle has the potential for extra dimension. After the heavy work, two totally different supersets think about workouts that effectively enhance your chest dimension and energy.

The Size and Strength Routine

Perform this exercise as soon as weekly as a part of your higher/decrease physique break up. To progress with the primary train, begin at three full cluster units, do 4 the following week, after which 5. When you’re in a position to do 5 cluster units, add weight. The different three bench workouts begin on the decrease finish of the rep vary and add one repetition every week. When you've reached the higher vary, enhance the load by 5 to 10 kilos and begin the method once more.

Bench Press Cluster Set

The flat barbell bench press needs to be a staple in your routine and your go-to for extra dimension and energy everytime you need to transfer essentially the most weight. This benching variation focuses equally in your higher and decrease chest for higher general muscle growth.

How to Do it: Lay supine on the flat bench, arch your decrease again barely, and plant your ft on the ground. Pull your shoulder blades collectively to boost stability and higher again energy. Grab the bar and squeeze your fingers arduous to flex your arm and grip muscle tissue maximally earlier than unracking the load. Lower the bar to your sternum/base of your chest. Press the load up, maintain your again tight and your shoulder blades pulled collectively.

Sets and Reps: 3-5 x (4×2) — Perform 4 mini-sets of two reps, repeated a complete of three to 5 instances.

Rest time: Rest 10 seconds between every mini-set. Rest three minutes after every full set.

Close-Grip Bench Press

The close-grip bench press has your fingers set shoulder-width aside and shift the load to your triceps and internal chest. (2) You might not be capable of carry as a lot weight, however you’ll be coaching your chest and triceps from a unique angle for improved muscle growth.

How to Do it: Set up as you'd for the flat bench press, however place your fingers inside shoulder-width along with your elbows tucked into your physique. Pull the bar out of the rack and get tight. Pull maintain your elbows near your ribs whereas reducing the bar to your chest. Once you've reached your required depth, press again up till lockout.

Sets and Reps: 3-4 x 4-6

Rest time: No relaxation earlier than shifting to the following train.

Seated Band Pull-Apart

After two urgent workouts, you’ll get a break with this straightforward pulling train to strengthen your higher again and sustain the well being of your shoulders. This seated band pull-apart will enhance your higher again engagement (due to the soundness of being seated) with out you leaving the bench.

How to Do it: Sit upright, holding a looped band at shoulder top along with your fingers shoulder-width aside. Pull the band aside, conserving your arms almost straight. Keep your shoulders down and your chest up. Pull till your shoulder blades are collectively and your arms are prolonged to both aspect of your physique. Return to the beginning place and repeat.

Sets and Reps: 3 x 15-25

Rest time: Rest two minutes earlier than repeating earlier train.

Single-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press

This single-arm (unilateral) train received’t mean you can go as heavy as you may with the barbell bench press, however there's nonetheless quite a bit to love about this urgent variation. First, you’ll tackle any imbalances between sides of your physique, main to higher muscle growth and improved joint well being. Second, you’ll have extra freedom of motion, as a result of the dumbbell bench press permits you to modify your grip and arm angle to discover a urgent path that's snug in your wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints.

How to Do it:  Place one dumbbell in your knee whereas sitting on a flat bench. Lean again and drive the dumbbell towards your shoulder utilizing your knee, whereas urgent the dumbbell up. Lower the dumbbell, conserving your elbow at roughly 45-degrees out of your physique. Press the dumbbells as much as lockout and repeat. 

Sets and Reps: 3-4 x 8-12 reps per arm.

Rest time: Rest 60 to 90 seconds earlier than shifting to the following train. 

Dumbbell Chest Flye

The dumbbell chest flye is as near a chest isolation train because it will get. This train takes the triceps out of the motion and stretches the pecs for a extra intensive vary of movement, which supplies you higher muscle-building potential. (3)

How to do it: Lie supine on a flat bench with a dumbbell in every hand. Begin with each arms locked out above your chest. Create a slight bend in your elbows and maintain this bend all through the motion. Lower your arms out to your sides in step with your shoulders. When you are feeling a stretch within the pecs, reverse the movement and squeeze the chest muscle tissue to return to the highest place.

Sets and Reps: 3 x 8-15

Rest time: Rest 60-90 seconds earlier than repeating the earlier train.

Chest Anatomy

The chest is a big superficial fan-like muscle, and the 2 chest muscle tissue are the pectoralis main and the pec minor. It has two attachment factors — the clavicular head on the higher chest and the sternal head attachment on the mid-to-lower chest. The pec main is in your anterior (entrance) ribcage, whereas the pectoralis minor is a small muscle beneath the pec main.

Credit: Ihor Bulyhin / Shutterstock

The pec main’s clavicular head originates, as anticipated, in your clavicle’s (collarbone) anterior or entrance floor. The pec main’s sternal head originates on the sternum’s anterior floor. Both muscle heads insert on the humerus (higher arm) and are concerned in most higher physique actions. The two main chest features that the coaching above focuses on are:

  • Shoulder flexion — Raising your arms up by pushing or lifting in entrance of your physique.
  • Horizontal adduction — Bringing your fingers (and joints) collectively in entrance of your pecs, as you do throughout a chest flye, bench press, or push-up.

Besides creating a giant and muscular chest, the pecs are the first “hugging” muscle. Pec dimension and energy assist sort out, seize, and fend off opponents within the sporting enviornment, in addition to throw and swing more durable and sooner in case you play sports activities like soccer, baseball, or tennis. 

How to Warm-Up for Your Bench Workout

Have you ever seen somebody stroll off the road below the barbell and begin urgent away to their coronary heart’s content material? Don’t be that particular person, they’re asking for accidents and poor efficiency. Although not warming up might not an enormous situation on uncommon events, over time, it could result in a lower in efficiency and elevated damage danger.

It’s higher to take the time to warm-up and get the blood shifting by means of your working muscle tissue, whereas get your shoulder and elbow joints prepared for motion.

Because your higher again and rotator cuffs are concerned within the bench press, you'll want to carry out any higher again motion that's efficient for partaking your scapula and rotators — face pulls with exterior rotation or band pull-parts.

After that, just a few mild ramp-up units on the bench press (low rep, mild weight units getting progressively heavier), focusing arduous on partaking your chest muscle tissue, could have you able to roll.

If you resolve to take extra time for an intensive warm-up, take this upper-body prep for a spin. There are a few higher back-focused workouts right here as a result of your lats and higher again stabilize your chest throughout benching. You’ll must get your again prepared for chest day to completely shield and put together your shoulders and rotator cuff.

  • Face Pull with External Rotation: Secure a resistance band to a steady object at eye-level. Take an overhand grip and step again till your arms are prolonged straight forward. Drive your elbows again in step with your shoulders whereas pulling your fingers to the highest of your head. In the height contraction, your thumbs ought to level behind you and your palms needs to be close to your ears. Return to the arms-extended place. Perform two units of 15 reps.
  • Scapular Push-up: Begin in a push-up place, along with your fingers and toes on the bottom and your physique straight. Keep your arms stiff and locked as you pinch your shoulder blades collectively whereas reaching your chest towards the bottom. Drive your fingers “through the ground” as you prolong your shoulder blades down and push your chest away out of your fingers. Perform two units of 10 reps.
  • Rear Delt Fly: Take a pair of sunshine dumbbells in every hand, or stand in the course of a light-weight resistance band and maintain every finish. Bend ahead on the waist, almost parallel to the bottom, and let your arms hold towards the bottom with a slight bend in your arms. Drive your arms up in step with your shoulders. Don’t enable your arm angle to alter all through the train. Pause briefly earlier than returning to the stretched place. Perform two units of 12 reps.
  • Spiderman With Rotation: Begin in a push-up place, along with your fingers and toes on the bottom and your physique straight. Step ahead along with your left leg, aiming to get your foot close to the pinky of your left hand if mobility permits. Keep your proper leg straight. Without bending your proper arm, carry your left arm to the ceiling, turning your higher physique to permit a full rotation. When your arm is perpendicular to the bottom, really feel a total-body stretch earlier than returning to a push-up place. Alternate sides with every repetition. Perform two units of 5 reps per aspect.
  • Incline Plyo Push-up: Setup close to a steady flat bench or field, in a push-up place along with your fingers on the bench, your toes on the bottom, and your physique straight. Lower your chest towards the bench and explosively drive upwards, letting your fingers depart contact with the bench. Catch your self with barely bent arms and brace your core. Take a breath and reset shortly earlier than performing the following repetition. Perform two units of eight reps.

Happy Benching

There are many alternative methods to focus on your chest, shoulder, and triceps, however the bench press is the most well-liked and, doubtlessly, the best instrument. You can construct muscle and energy by specializing in a handful of the best actions to enhance the bench press. Always warm-up your chest and shoulders, after which assault the muscle tissue utilizing the in-depth, final bench exercise laid out above. Your Mondays won't ever be the identical.


  1. Schoenfeld, B. J., Grgic, J., Van Every, D. W., & Plotkin, D. L. (2021). Loading Recommendations for Muscle Strength, Hypertrophy, and Local Endurance: A Re-Examination of the Repetition Continuum. Sports (Basel, Switzerland)9(2), 32. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9020032
  2. Lockie, Robert & Moreno, Matthew. (2017). The Close-Grip Bench Press. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 39. 1. 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000307.
  3. Baroni, B. M., Pompermayer, M. G., Cini, A., Peruzzolo, A. S., Radaelli, R., Brusco, C. M., & Pinto, R. S. (2017). Full Range of Motion Induces Greater Muscle Damage Than Partial Range of Motion in Elbow Flexion Exercise With Free Weights. Journal of energy and conditioning analysis31(8), 2223–2230. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000001562

Featured Image: YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV / Shutterstock

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